Service your bike
You wouldn’t slice a tomato with a dull knife so why would you head off for a ride on a rundown bike? Here’s a clever way to remember to check your bike that’s as easy as ABC.
“A” is for air so if your tyres feel low, pump them up to the recommended pressure (usually a number printed on or moulded into the side of the tyre, see the Truth about tyre pressure.)
“B” is for brakes, which can wear out over time so if your stopping power seems a little slack, it may be time to replace your brake pads or cables.
“C” stands for cranks and chain, which work together to keep you rolling so make sure they aren’t loose or misaligned.
One more is “Q” for quick releases - the bolts through your wheels - which routinely need tightening.
Before you even throw a leg over your bike, take a few minutes to map a route that steers you clear of busy streets. Instead, look for side roads and bike paths that will calmly deliver you to your destination. Not only is a quiet, longer route more enjoyable, but it may also be faster than a shorter route through city streets because it avoids delays due to traffic lights, stop signs, and road congestion.
Get to know the rules of the road
If you want respect as a cyclist, you’ve got to earn it. Learn the hand signals for cyclists and obey traffic laws (even if it seems like you’re the only one following them). To turn right, extend the right arm perpendicularly to the body. To turn left, extend the left arm perpendicularly to the body. Be the one cyclist who sets a good example of how to share the road.
Be aware of your space
Paying attention to what’s around you allows you to cycle safely and in compliance with road rules. Yield to pedestrians, mind the turn signals of other road users, and stay out of motorists’ blind spots.
Make sure you’re visible and audible
Bike lights, high visibility outerwear, and reflectors boost your chances of being seen, now add a bell and be heard as well. Cyclists on city roads are becoming more common, which helps make motorists more aware of sharing the road. The best defence, in this case, is to inoffensively announce your presence by being both visible and audible when riding in the city.
Safe cycling in the city is all about being self-aware and prepared, following the rules, and being seen and heard. Public roads are for the public and there’s space for everyone to share them, including you if you know these pro tips for safe city cycling.